Senior leaders from Airlines for America (A4A) have called on the US Government to end the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated travellers, describing it as a “barrier to air travel”.

Following a meeting at the White House, A4A said the policy was “no longer aligned with the current epidemiological environment”. The trade body said that it “continues to harm our nation’s economy and hinder air travel to the US”.

‘Chilling effect on fragile economy’

A4A President and CEO Nicholas E Calio said: “Science has shown time and time again that the pre-departure testing requirement is not effective and is not stopping or even slowing the spread of Covid. Quite frankly, the only impact the pre-departure testing requirement is having is a chilling effect on an already fragile economy here in the US.”

A recent survey of A4A’s member airlines suggested carriers could see an additional 4.3 million international passengers if the inbound pre-departure testing requirement were to be lifted.

Instead, these millions of people are travelling and spending their money to holiday or do business in other countries, A4A said.

‘Different standard for air travel’

“Despite the countless studies affirming that the hospital-grade air onboard aircraft is some of the cleanest available and the significant increase in vaccination rates, the administration continues to hold air travel to a standard different than land border crossings,” added Calio.

“Across the country, states that rely on travel and tourism to support their local economies are paying the price. There is simply no scientific justification for maintaining the pre-departure testing requirement.

“It is past time for the US to catch up with the rest of the globe, follow the science and eliminate this pandemic-era barrier to air travel.”

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